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How much does it cost to raise a child in Singapore?

Raising a child is thought to be very expensive, especially in the island city of Singapore.

But take note — there isn’t just one way to raise a child. A carefree approach will cost less than a more hands-on one, yet, it doesn’t mean either way is wrong.

Ultimately, parents will have to find the best parenting and caregiving styles that will allow them to live within their means, so that the journey is a joyful one.

With that said, here in this article, we want to provide some basic costs when it comes to raising a child in Singapore as a Singaporean citizen. We hope it provides a general guideline as to how much each life stage of raising a child will cost. Bear in mind that at each life stage, there is a wide range of services available, which will affect the eventual expenditure.


How much does the delivery of a baby cost?

Singapore has one of the best healthcare systems in the world, so giving birth at a public hospital like KKH will also mean that you are getting a high-quality level of care. There is a helpful bill calculator on the KKH website on how much it costs to give birth. 

For a normal delivery, where the mum stays in the ward for two days in the A1 ward (most expensive ward, where dad is allowed to stay), it costs $5,220, of which $2,550 can be paid by Medisave. Therefore you pay an upfront amount of $2,670.

If you choose the most inexpensive option, which is a naturally ventilated six-bedder ward in KKH, it costs $1,850 and you can pay the full amount through Medisave. Your upfront payment is $0.

Infantcare and childcare

Infantcare costs around $1,364 a month at an anchor operator, but if mum of the baby is working full-time, you get $600 in subsidy. If your combined monthly income is between $5,000 and $8,000, your family gets additional subsidy of $240, which means you pay $524 per month. 

You are eligible for varying amounts of subsidy depending on your income. Read ‘Infant care fees in Singapore: My First Skool, PCF Sparkletots & more‘ to find out more.

Assuming that you go on maternity leave for the first 4 months of your baby’s life, and return back to work in the fifth month, you will be paying around 14 months’ worth of infantcare fees, which adds up to be $7,336 in total.

Then, your little baby graduates to childcare! It’s a significant milestone for your family, and it also means that childcare gets cheaper.

Typically, at an anchor operator, full-time childcare fee is around $700. Working mothers get a subsidy of $300, and there are also additional subsidies. If your combined monthly income is between $5,000 and $8,000, your family gets additional subsidy of $240, which means you pay $280 per month, or $3,360 a year.

Your child will likely be in childcare until K2, or 6 years old, which means that we can assume you will be paying at least four years’ worth of childcare fees. Rounding it up to $13,440.

Don’t forget, your baby or toddler will also need diapers, formula milk, baby food, enrichment books, toys, and so on. We will not prescribe figures to these costs as they differ widely.


Costs during primary school and secondary school

Your kid is a big boy or girl now! Congratulations on graduating K2, kiddo.

As a parent, this is where we can all relax a bit because primary school fees are very affordable. Generally, it costs $13 a month to go to a primary school in Singapore.

For secondary school, there is variation between tiers of school. You can expect to pay anywhere between $25 to $45 per month for a public or autonomous school. Independent schools set their own fee structure, so that could range between $300 to $600 per month.

For specific primary and secondary fees, check MOE’s website.

Going by $13 a month for 6 years of primary school and $25 per month for 4 years of secondary school, it would add up to be $2,136 for education costs, for 10 years! Not too bad, right?


Enrichment and tuition classes

But… that’s not the only costs when it comes to these formative years! You might want to “invest” in enrichment or tuition classes, or your child may be the one asking for them.

Here, you can expect a wide variation of costs, but, we think it’s reasonable to set aside $300 to $500 a month during these years for any extra music classes or Chinese tuition you want to send your kid to. As with anything, be sensible and don’t go overboard when it comes to extra-curricular classes.


Tertiary education — Junior college or polytechnic

If your child decides to go to a junior college, you would pay fees of between $13 and $33 a month. For a two-year junior college education, that costs $312 to $792.

For polytechnics, where your child can gain a diploma that makes him or her employable from the get-go, it is understandably more expensive. Expect to pay $2,700 to $2,900 per school year. For a three-year diploma, that adds up to between $8,100 and $8,700. Tuition fees are highly subsidised for Singaporean citizens. If you are not a Singaporean, head to the polytechnic’s website to see actual costs.


University fees in Singapore for citizens

Finally, university. If your child is going to a local university such as NUS or NTU, it will cost $8,200 to $10,000 per academic year (for Singaporean citizens). However, for a management university like SMU, it can be between $11,450 to $12,650 a year. So university fees will range between $32,800 and $50,600 for any one of these local universities for a four-year degree.

Of course, going to overseas universities will cost more depending on which university and country.

Another thing to take note is that if you just gave birth and you are worrying about university fees for your little one, the above fees will increase in 20 years’ time! Make sure you factor inflation into your calculations when planning your savings.


Pocket money

And of course, pocket money! When your child takes his or her meals with you, you can control a lot of the spending. But when your child goes to primary school and eventually secondary school, they would want more freedom.

Here is where you need to be wise. Give enough so that your child don’t starve, and can practise the principles of saving their own money; but don’t give too much such that they don’t treasure the value of money.

Read also: Financial literacy for kids: 5 ways to set your child up for financial success

We won’t prescribe an amount here as each family is different, but you just have to figure out how much food costs in school and how many times your child might be dining out or hanging out with their friends. Then you can round up to a sum that you feel comfortable with.


Sounds like a lot? These costs aren’t meant to scare you, but to prepare you for the financial journey ahead. We also understand that it is not useful to tabulate all the costs together and see having children as a liability. After all, having a child is a joyful experience and having a family isn’t just about dollars and cents.

You absolutely don’t need to have the full sum ready when planning for a child. Your income will grow as you establish your career, and you can also make adjustments along the way. So, use these numbers as a guideline for planning, but don’t stress yourself out too much.

Don’t forget that the government also offers some help in the form of baby bonus payouts to bear the heavy costs of parenting in the first few years!

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